The Colonial Theatre Tea Garden

The beauty spot of downtown Richmond was, in 1921, the Tea Garden of the brand-new Colonial Theatre. Herein, we recreate the essence of elegance, joy and hauteur that was once found in Virginia's first real picture palace. Bathtub gin is available at the top of the grand ramps.

Friday, August 11, 2006

My friends are sadists.

I know this because almost all of them have elected to remind me of the great fun available in dancing at the beach.

And I have sprained my ankle.

I managed to do this, somehow, one week ago, and it hasn't fully healed. Now, I am normally one of these people who believes that one should pummel through adversity. You can complain about an injury all you want, but it's not going away and I have observed that really nobody is going to sympathize with you enough to really do much good. You're better advised to slog through, teach a full load of classes with that shattered spine, and then milk it for all it's worth. I am also the poster child of 1865 Richmond and 1945 Berlin: yea, though the bombs fall around us, I will wind up the record player and dance.

But it's my rotten luck that, one week before heading off for the beach, I take one false pace down my own front steps, and end up with an ankle that rather unpleasantly resembles a grapefruit. I'm all about grapefruit!!! Really! If you put grapefruit pieces in an ice tray, pour gin over them and freeze for a few hours, you've got a party on your hands. Having an ankle that looks like a grapefruit is something else entirely.

You see, one is not allowed to be infirm at the beach. The beach is the realm of white linen shorts and madras, the confirmed home of seersucker suits and panama hats. In years past, I begged off going to Mass at the beach because I didn't have a nice hat to wear--which I couldn't wear if I'd had it--because men do not wear hats inside any building at all, much less a Catholic church--but I needed to have a hat to wear as far as the front door of St. Edmund's--well, you get the idea. The beach is also the realm of showing off what you've got. I'll probably never get up the nerve to wear the tiny orange bathing-suit that I bought during the winter, but I want to at least have the option.

The beach is also a place for dancing and general good spirits. I'm going to be stuck with general good spirits, because my ankle is so hopelessly grapefruitish that I can't dance very effectively. I'm going to have to limp around too in the tiny orange bathing suit, which irritates me to no end. When one is used to being the frantic life of the party, it's not much fun to sit around working jigsaw puzzles.

Now that I think of it, though, in about 1989 I'd sprained my right knee, and somehow still went to a fraternity dance. I wrapped the recalcitrant joint so tightly that my toes turned purple, took a stiff drink and danced all night.

Seventeen years can't dampen the spirit--when I get to Rehoboth on Saturday, I'll still tear the house down.